Colson Defends His View of the Emerging Church

Charles Colson is once again in Christianity Today on the topic of “knowable truth” and the Emerging Church:  Emerging Confusion, Jesus is the truth whether we experience him or not.

Maybe I had been too harsh. After all, the theologian—we’ll call him Jim—argued that emerging church leaders are trying to translate the gospel for a postmodern generation. That’s a commendable goal, I agreed. Though in their effort to reach postmoderns—who question the existence and knowability of truth—I expressed fear that they are coming dangerously close to teaching that objective truth does not exist.

A lengthy e-mail exchange with Jim followed. In defense of emerging church leaders, he insisted that truth is paradoxical, simultaneously personal and propositional. It is objectively true that Jesus Christ is Lord no matter what anyone thinks, Jim wrote. But, he added, “Propositional truth is not the highest truth. Indeed, the highest truth is personal.”

A few years ago I enjoyed a conversation with a group of us artist types (At the re:create think tank in Franklin, TN) and Kurt Bruner who wrote The Divine Drama: Discovering Your Part In God’s Story.  Bruner’s statement is that both “propositional” and “story” should be presented when we share the gospel.  He has a terrific book that puts the gospel story in the format of a dramatic script.

I do think Colson has a point about having concern for putting “personal” truth before the “propositional” and in the need for apologetics. Indeed, truth is knowable. However, I see it as a faulty position on both sides to put propositional or personal in sequence and would think that Bruner has it right in making it a “both and”. Is the gospel just propositional, or can it be both story and proposition?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

4 comments

  1. This seems like a lot of rhetoric to me. Yeah, I think that it is super important to know what we as Bible believers, Christ-followers know and think and listen to. We need to dig deep and know what we believe and not buy into what people feed us with out testing it first. But study and be accountable. It just seems like a lot of dividing and discussion here rather then sharpening our irons. Not you Rich…but what the article presented.

  2. This seems like a lot of rhetoric to me. Yeah, I think that it is super important to know what we as Bible believers, Christ-followers know and think and listen to. We need to dig deep and know what we believe and not buy into what people feed us with out testing it first. But study and be accountable. It just seems like a lot of dividing and discussion here rather then sharpening our irons. Not you Rich…but what the article presented.

  3. This seems like a lot of rhetoric to me. Yeah, I think that it is super important to know what we as Bible believers, Christ-followers know and think and listen to. We need to dig deep and know what we believe and not buy into what people feed us with out testing it first. But study and be accountable. It just seems like a lot of dividing and discussion here rather then sharpening our irons. Not you Rich…but what the article presented.

  4. This seems like a lot of rhetoric to me. Yeah, I think that it is super important to know what we as Bible believers, Christ-followers know and think and listen to. We need to dig deep and know what we believe and not buy into what people feed us with out testing it first. But study and be accountable. It just seems like a lot of dividing and discussion here rather then sharpening our irons. Not you Rich…but what the article presented.

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